Are you manufacturing brand loyalty online? If not, you’re already behind these awesome manufacturing marketing teams.
Get this: 44% of manufacturing marketers (including external marketing agencies like us) believed that social media would be the most crucial part of a successful content marketing strategy in 2017. You can bet that number is not going down in 2018.
(Photo courtesy William Tung)
5 Manufacturing Social Media Experts
These five guys (also awesome) are either fun, inspiring, or empathetic in ways that their competitors struggle to imitate. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. John Deere
John Deere understands that its fans use different social media channels in different ways. Its marketers use this knowledge to generate site-specific content. Take these three examples:
- John Deere uses its Instagram account to promote engagement (rather than spamming product placement). Farmers reminisce over photos of old equipment, farmland, and simple farm duties from their days as young whippersnappers.
- But on LinkedIn, there’s not much of an agricultural audience. So John Deere instead uses the professional networking site to push content about technologies, company philosophies, and the industry’s future.
- Its Twitter account relates directly and personally with customers. John Deere introduces new farming interns, spotlights folks using their John Deeres to help their communities, and even ASKS AUDIENCE MEMBERS ABOUT THEIR DAY. That’s dedication.
No wonder the company has been hailed as “the original content marketer.”
2. Big Ass Fans
The team doesn’t annoy its followers with a bombardment of branded messages. They share educational stories and links from third-party sources, engage in interesting conversations, and say lots of funny stuff.
The edgy voice has worked: At the time I wrote this, Big Ass Fans had a big-ass number of followers on social media:
- 300,000 on Facebook
- 30,000 on Twitter
- 21,000 on Instagram
We’re such a fan of Big Ass Fans that we dedicated an entire blog post to it.
This construction equipment company had has no problem cutting through all the cat pictures and political outrage to get noticed. Sometimes getting noticed means dropping the bullhorn and picking up your listening ears.
Kevin Espinosa, the company’s integrated marketing manager, once brought up a great point about social listening:
“We have an entire strategy for social listening. ... Currently, we are using social listening to understand what people are saying about our products, the issues they have, where they are saying it, and who the key influencers are.”
If you’re working in B2B, you’ll want to lift some ideas from Caterpillar.
The camera manufacturer lets user-generated content do much of the work for it. How? The marketing team encourages those using the product to submit amazing photos.
This has a doubly awesome effect: It not only collects great content to share online, but it also essentially lets the customer brag about the product. Much more powerful than GoPro doing the bragging itself.
5. General Electric
GE noticed that much of B2B online marketing was laden with product shilling and business-speak. Its marketing arm made a wise move toward capturing the human experience instead.
The industrial giant has used a variety of content marketing tactics to announce and cement itself as both innovative and exciting. Those are the exact qualities you need to make appliances and aviation equipment a hot topic online. It’s a few years old now, but check out the video above for proof of GE’s marketing ingenuity.
What Will Your Voice Be?
Now it’s time for you to do you. Pick three or so words or phrases that define your social media philosophy and voice. (Ours, for example, might be: stat-driven, educational, playful.)
So get to work! You don’t have to be the next SpaceX. Small and mid-sized manufacturers can rule social media, too. Just make sure you’re doing it -- or you’ll be left in the dust by your peers.